After months of careful deliberation of over 1300 chapbooks, we are thrilled to share our shortlist of semifinalists.

These eleven chapbooks examine a spectrum of realities with remarkable focus and empathy. Within the lens of gender, race, class and sexuality, these authors navigate multitudes: the intricacies of heartsore, the obligations of community and body, how boundaries — internal and external — shape a life, the fluidity and cage of myth. Many of the characters profiled in these stories and poems yearn for a kind of freedom, whether from their small Southern town, the unknowable threads of family, or the empty echo of afterlife. There is hope and surety in these chapbooks as well: Mejdulene B. Shomali proclaims, “…every word is a tithing/bless these teeth and their chattering chant/every shout is exaltation/bless this tongue and its swollen devotion”. and Jasmine Reid says, “Open/the window & let your yestershine/in. We, too, exchange whole crops/of bright.” These eleven chapbooks introduce us to worlds of magic and memory, tenderly translate inheritance and legacy, and illuminate voices of grace, resilience and wonder.

We are in awe of these writers and honored to present this list.
Read excerpts and interviews with the writers by clicking the chapbook titles below.




Curfew by Hussain Ahmed

Rinse by Christell Roach

coming of age in arabish by Mejdulene B. Shomali

Deus Ex Nigrum by Jasmine Reid

Monkey Was Here by Jasmine An


Letters From A Dead Black Woman by Onyekachi Iwu

Border Crossings by Fern Bryant

Wrong June by Aidan Forster

The Biography of Orange by Chloe Firetto-Toomey

Your Heart, Among Other Things by Ariel Chu

Reality Marble by Joseph Earl Thomas

The winner and finalists will be announced in early 2019. We will open for our next chapbook contest in fall of 2019.

Congratulations to our semifinalists & thank you to everyone who submitted!